Marvin Eder

The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezbo Ban is a fantastic website that is full of legendary stories and articles from over half a century ago. THIS article on Marvin Eder is very interesting several reasons.

Mark Eder and the Canadian Colossus Doug Hepburn were having a legit face off, a showing of strength on muscle beach. THIS WAS FOR ALL THE MARBLES

The action heated up when the bar reached 420. Juliano dropped out, but that was no disgrace for a 17-year old superman. Eder, not much older at 19, blasted out two reps with 420. Hepburn also rammed up the 420. Eder then did 430 pounds in strict style – thereby setting a new, albeit unofficial, world record. Hepburn lifted the same poundage and announced the fact that he was just warming up. he then benched 440, but his form was so rough Marvin said, “Nice lift, Doug. You must have lost two inches off your chest the way the bar bounced off your pecs.” Everybody in the large crowd surrounding the workout area laughed. Except Doug.

I bet Doug was pissed, but did he start a fight? Did he break a bottle over his head and try and stab Eder with the pieces?

Hepburn, who set a world record in the military press at the National Weightlifting Championships a few days later, went into his strongman prop bag and brought out a thick leather belt, with which he strapped two 45-pound plates together. He lifted the plates overhead with his left hand, then lowered them until his arm was parallel to the ground. It was known as the one-arm holdout. He held the weights in the muscled-out position for five seconds. The crowd gasped and applauded. They went wild when Eder duplicated the feat – and held the plates out for 10 seconds.

Ah, the strong men of lore. So impressive — yet Eder is obnoxiously impressive. Read the article, because I won’t be able to cover it all.

Muscle photographer Art Zeller remembered seeing Marvin Eder hold his arms out while a 150-pound hand-balancer named Maurice Maruitz put his hands on Eder’s wrists s though they were parallel bars, leapt up, and went into a handstand. “Eder just stood there like a rock, without quivering at all. He looked like he could have stood there all day,” Zeller said.

As for his top end strength:

Eder’s feats of strength include a 515-pound bench press, squatting 550-pounds for 10 deep reps, 12 one-arm chins and a 365-pound overhead press. At the 1951 Pan-American Games tryouts, he surpassed the world record in the press with 337 at a bodyweight of 192, but the AAU refused to let him compete.

And lastly, as a 67 year old (in 1999), Eder was still training and looking solid:

Today (1999), at age 67, Marvin can still do 100 dips anytime, and more amazing, 90 chinups. I saw him last year at the Oldetime Barbell & Strongmen’s annual dinner. H told me that his three-times-a-week workout consists of five sets of chins for 50 reps, five sets of dips for 50 reps and 550 alternate jumping lunge squats. He still weighs 197 pounds and looks sensational.

That’s so awesome. Eder is now one of my strength idols.

14 thoughts on “Marvin Eder

  1. Yeah Eder was ridiculous. He was like a 200lb. gymnast. The weighted pull-up with 250lbs. and the dip with 430lbs. are why I can’t take these guys serious who say they’re too heavy for bodyweight work.

  2. @Alphanitis: In a interview a few years back Eder claimed 665.

    “Quite possibly. I also did some dead lifting and was quite strong on this also, but not much – just to work out. Ludwig Shusterich, a very nice man, one time came up to workout with me and we both dead-lifted without any particular training, 665 pounds. It was just like an afterthought, after we had done working out. ”

    @Compact: Pat Casey was the first man to bench 600. He liked Marvin’s training and dipped himself with equal zeal. Reaching +380lbs at a 300lb bodyweight.

    There’s a sweet pic somewhere of Casey dipping 300 pounds at 300 pounds.


  3. Those are ridiculous numbers especially at such a young age. Makes me feel weak since I’m about the same weight.

    You had that classic women post. I bet there can be a couple old school strongmen/lifters tribute posts as well. Other lifters from the 50s like Paul Anderson or Tommy Kono to the 1800s with Sandow, Saxon, Cyr, etc.

  4. The best thing about the old time strong men is that they did all kinds of different lifts and thought outside the box instead of the SQUAT BP DEAD OR GTFO attitude that seems more prevalent today.

  5. I agree with Jake Briskin. I have a real hard time believing anyone, let alone a 67 year old, can do 90 consecutive chinups. The dude is still crazy though even if some of his feats might be a tad inflated.

  6. @ brisken & yukon:

    If he’s been doing it all his life, how might it be unbelievable? He’s definitely ‘greased the groove’.

    At the same time, not to take away from Eder, maybe they were (what we would consider) partial range chins? Who knows, since we can’t see it ourselves.

    Or maybe they were like this?

    Irregardlessly, he is still amazing, and whether they are full ROM, partial ROM, or kipped, I can’t get close to those numbers.

  7. The same guy benched 515 AND did 12 one-arm chins? I thought that anyone doing one-arm chins and being over 200 was impossible. Fuck it – I’m gonna train for that.

  8. @unbelievers

    i’ve seen a 200+ person do over 70 dead-hang, strict pull-ups non-stop, and i used to be able to do over 40 dead-hang, strict pull-ups back when I worked them for max reps

    it’s not that unbelievable to me that someone could do 80 or 90 of either pull-ups or chin-ups if he practice it all the time, regardless of his weight

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